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10 Ways to Avoid Money Fights With Your Partner

Don't ruin your relationship by bickering over spending and saving.

From silly fights to serious arguments, there are a wide variety of conflicts couples may experience over the course of their relationship. But whether big fight or small, money is one of the most common things people argue about with their significant other. To keep things from getting out of hand, we talked to several experts for their advice on how to ease financial tension in any relationship. Read on to learn why money fights can be so damaging, and discover 10 ways to avoid them.

RELATED: I'm a Matchmaker and These Are 7 Avoidable Fights That Can Ruin Your Relationship.

How can fighting about money with your partner hurt your relationship?

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The unfortunate reality is that couples break up over money issues all the time. In terms of married couples, studies reveal that financial conflict is one of the "leading causes of divorce in the U.S.," says Michele Goldman, PhD, licensed psychologist and Hope for Depression Research Foundation media advisor.

"While fighting about money might not be the direct cause of the relationship ending, it can be the stressor that creates a wedge between partners," she tells Best Life. "Once that wedge is present, other unhealthy behaviors can settle into the relationship, like less emotional intimacy, less physical or sexual intimacy, affairs, decreased communication, and more."

So, how can you avoid money fights? Here are expert-backed 10 tips to follow.

Chat casually about money on date night.

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Your money conversations don't have to be something you dread. Whether you've been together for a few months or a few years, you can have conversations about finances that deepen your bond.

"Couples should spend time over several date nights talking about money, how they feel about money, and how money was handled or talked about in their families growing up," sex and couples therapist Catherine Dukes, LCSW, suggests. "Couples should share how these lessons impacted them and the way they manage their own finances now."

She adds, "Couples can benefit deeply by also having conversations about their strengths and weaknesses in managing money and what their goals are for improving themselves in these areas."

Only from there can you move on to more difficult topics, like budgeting, saving, and spending in the future.

Then start talking about shared financial goals.

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After you get some background information on your partner's feelings toward money, you can get into the dollars and cents.

"Couples should discuss their attitudes toward money and come up with a mutually agreeable plan for managing their finances," Lillian Rishty, LCSW, says. "This can include creating a budget, deciding who will pay which bills, and setting aside money for joint expenses and individual discretionary spending."

You'll have a solid plan to base your financial decisions on and ensure you're on the same page.

RELATED: 64% of Couples Have Committed "Financial Infidelity"—How to Stop It in Your Relationship.

Host monthly check-ins.

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Maintaining healthy finances isn't a one-and-done deal. Therapists recommend hosting monthly check-ins to ensure you remain aligned.

"When couples check in, they should review their current financial status, discuss any large purchases or investments made since the last check-in, bills that need to be paid, and plan ahead for upcoming expenses," says Steve Carleton, LCSW. "They should also review their budget to ensure they are staying within their spending limits, and update their goals to align with any changes that occurred since their last check-in."

Do this around the same time each month to nip problems in the bud—before they become major issues.

Recognize each other's spending triggers.

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People usually have certain triggers that cause them to spend money, according to Goldman. These may include higher stress levels or specific times of the year, such as the holiday season.

"Knowing your own triggers, as well as knowing your partner's triggers, can be helpful to catch it before the spending occurs," she notes. "If spending does occur out of triggers, learn from it and use this to plan for future triggers."

Stay honest.


Never try to hide financial secrets from your partner, no matter how small.

"Being honest with one another about money can help couples avoid fights because it helps them understand each other's financial goals, attitudes, and habits," Carleton explains.

"When both partners are transparent and open about their finances, they can create a budget that works best for both of them, identify areas where they may need to compromise or make changes to reduce potential conflicts, and review their finances together to ensure they're on the same page," he continues.

It's also the only way you can maintain accuracy in your planning and decision-making.

RELATED: 7 Red Flags Your Partner Is Lying About Their Finances.

Remember you're a team.

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Dealing with finances is a necessary component of any long-term partnership, and you should treat it as such.

"My best tip for avoiding fighting about finances is to not only have regular conversations about it, but to walk into these conversations remembering that you and your partner are a team," licensed psychotherapist Katherine Chan, LMFT, says.

"Try not to make your partner the enemy by doling out accusations," she adds. "Instead, join forces against a common challenge within your financial situation and commit to working together."

Challenge your financial assumptions about each other.

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While it's easy to talk about being a team, it's not always that simple. Don't be afraid to "name and challenge the assumptions that you each have about each other," advises Lori Ann Kret, LCSW, co-founder of the Aspen Relationship Institute.

"What labels do you associate with your partner when you think about their financial habits: cheap, immature, high-maintenance, selfish, stingy, controlling, excessively worried? These characterizations often exist subconsciously and influence how you approach and interact with your partner," she shares.

The types of labels also impact "your perception of your partner and the dialogue you are able or willing to have with them," according to Kret.

"Own that these assumptions are yours and ask your partner for help in editing them," she recommends. "Be curious about what might also be true or more accurate in order to broaden the opportunities for resolution and soften the conversation."

Honor and respect your differences.

couple managing finances
Ground Picture / Shutterstock

No matter how much you talk and try to get on the same page, it's "inevitable that you will have a different relationship to money than your partner," Goldman says. Working to recognize and respect these differences can be a crucial factor in reducing money fights.

"If you see your partner's spending as impulsive, it is more likely to lead to arguments. But if you see your partner's spending as someone who has changed social class and learning a new way to navigate finances, there is more compassion," she explains. "Understanding the root of why people make certain decisions allows for us to honor and respect them more; it increases empathy and decreases judgement."

RELATED: 5 Fights That Only Toxic Couples Have.

Establish financial safety nets.

young depressed couple having argument while checking money debt. Attractive new marriage man and woman looking frustrated to paperwork and bill, feel worried about financial problem in house.

Talking about both the past and the present in terms of your finances is important to avoid money fights. But don't forget to talk about the future—and specifically, about the "what ifs," says budgeting expert Andrea Woroch.

"What happens if one of you becomes injured or passes, how will you pay the bills? After all, if you and your partner rely on each other financially, you have to think about building financial safety nets and incorporating that into your budget," she points out. "This includes establishing an emergency savings fund, buying term life insurance for both partners—even if one stays home to raise the kids—and creating a will or trust."

Work with a financial planner.

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Inside Creative House/Shutterstock

If you are your partner are really struggling to see eye-to-eye when it comes to money, it may be worth hiring a financial planner.

"While it might not be necessary for everyone, and certainly is a privilege due to the cost, having an unbiased third party helping navigate conversations about money can be quite helpful," Goldman says. "An unbiased third party can help with providing information, looking at finances together, creating spending limits, budgets, discussing how to spend in ways that are best for the future of the couple, helping to set financial goals, and more."

This story has been updated to include additional entries, fact-checking, and copy-editing.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more